Thursday, September 07, 2006

Of My Love for Carbon

1+ day to go.

Last night, while cleaning my bike and getting it prepared for the race, I got to take a nice close look at all the carbon. Especially with my rear wheel. It seems among the list of things I don't do well on my bike, I can add “lube” to the list. I seem to get an inordinate amount of lube splatter on those pretty carbon/aramid spokes. Also, spraying my chain with degreaser only seems to exacerbate the problem.

As a consequence, I got to take a nice close look at the various carbon parts of my bike. I have learned something about my love of carbon: It isn't entirely driven by the marketing of the bike industry.

Why I love Carbon
I love the un-even look of the fibers. I love that you can see around joints how the lay-up had to change. I love the natural look to it (as opposed to the machined, industrial look present in metal frames/parts). While cleaning the spokes on my wheels, I can feel/see that they aren't identical. Each spoke is unique. Much of what is done, is done by hand.

Besides appearance, I love the way carbon can actually be repaired. I love the way it has enormous fatigue life. I love the way it kills the road vibrations. I love that a frame manufacturer can tweak with the carbon to get totally different ride characteristics out of frames that look identical on the outside.

Calfee has a great whitepaper about why carbon is the perfect frame material.

Will all those fantastic qualities of carbon help me finish LOTOJA? They'd better, or I'm getting my money back.

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